Be a Superstar Reviewer: Four Tips for Getting What You Want from Your Copywriter

All marketing managers want to get the most from their copywriting budgets. When you hire the Content Bureau, we’ll typically ask you to review up to three drafts of copy. Is there a right way to review B2B copy? Absolutely! For best results, make your feedback the following:

  • Timely. Just like a box of cereal or a carton of cream, marketing copy has a shelf life. Providing prompt, timely feedback keeps your content fresh and your projects on schedule. If a draft sits without review for more than a week or two, the project quickly loses momentum and it’s harder to re-engage stakeholders. To maximize your copywriting budget, complete your project as quickly as possible so you can publish your new asset and get it working for you.
  • Consolidated. Consolidated feedback means that everyone comments within a single document—responding to each other’s comments and ideas. Ultimately, a designated content owner arbitrates any lingering discrepancies. We actually recommend designating one person as a feedback consolidator and one person as a content decision-maker. (See Stacy’s awesome post on this subject.)

Consolidated feedback also means getting feedback from all parties, early in the project. That includes the core review team of subject matter experts, any brand or legal review, and higher-level executives. If an exec is brought in too late and doesn’t agree with the general direction, you end up scrapping or rewriting work, resulting in delays and budget implications.

What’s more, piecemeal feedback trickling in at multiple times within multiple documents or mediums—such as verbally, through email, or within Microsoft Word—introduces version control issues. And it also requires the writer to toggle back and forth between documents, comparing edits and feedback manually—and augmenting the likelihood of something being missed. In short, consolidated feedback not only helps us to do our job better, it’s best practice for efficient production of a top-quality asset.

  • Written. Want to be a superstar reviewer? Offer your edits and suggestions directly in a Word document using Track Changes, or insert comments in a PDF with Adobe Acrobat or Preview. This makes it easier for your copywriter to read, react to, and incorporate your edits and comments in a systematic fashion. Written changes also avoid any ambiguity that can come from verbal feedback—and it’s usually more time efficient.
  • Actionable. Telling the writer that “this doesn’t work” doesn’t help to advance the project. What specifically doesn’t work? The tone? The word choice? If the writer’s using the wrong word, specify why it is wrong (for example, the competition uses it or the word itself is dated) and suggest alternatives. You don’t have to rewrite it perfectly—that’s the writer’s job!—but do provide all the information needed to fix it. And never assume that the writer knows all of the nuances within your industry. You can help out by giving a bit of background on important or global changes—for example, we no longer call it “xyz” but now refer to it as “abc” because “abc” is more widely accepted in the industry.

Following this simple advice not only makes you a review superstar, but it keeps your project on budget and on schedule.

By Ruth Burk